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Fri 14 Jul 2017, 10:00am–2:00pm
Sat 15 Jul 2017, 10:00am–2:00pm
Thu 20 Jul 2017, 10:00am–2:00pm
Fri 21 Jul 2017, 10:00am–2:00pm
Sat 22 Jul 2017, 10:00am–2:00pm

Where: Otaki Museum, 49 Main St, Ōtaki, Kapiti Coast

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free


World War One at Sea features the drama and tragedy of seafarers during World War I, with a special emphasis on the sinking of the SS Otaki.

Associated with it are descriptions of life at sea during the war and the involvement of New Zealanders in the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy. It is part of an official commemoration on March 10 at Ōtaki College of the SS Otaki sinking 100 years ago.

The freighter was in an epic battle on March 10, 1917, with the SMS Moewe, a disguised German raider. Though outgunned and inexperienced in naval warfare, the Otaki fought bravely with the Moewe, starting a fire that lasted three days. The Otaki ultimately succumbed and was sunk with the loss of its captain and five others. The survivors were taken aboard the Moewe and spent the rest of the war in German prisoner of war camps.

The Otaki's captain, Archibald Bisset Smith, earned a posthumous Victoria Cross for his gallantry. His New Zealand wife established the Otaki Shield at Smith's former school, Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, Scotland, which led to the Otaki Scholar. The Scholar has visited New Zealand every year since 1937 (except during the Second World War years), and reciprocal scholarship, the Sander Scholar, has visited Scotland from Ōtaki College since 2013.

The exhibition includes:
- The War At Sea
- New Zealand Shipping Company
- New Zealand Shipping Company ships bearing the name Otaki
- The Durham Association
- The Engagement, March 10, 1917
- The Adversaries
- The Victoria Cross
- The Otaki Scholar
- HMS New Zealand
- The Battle of Jutland
- Midshipman Peregrine Robert Dearden: A survivor
- Lt Commander William Saunders VC DSO
- The Raid on Zeebrugge
- The Tragedy of the SS Marquette
- TSS Wahine/HMS Wahine/TSS Wahine: an extraordinary career
- Role of the New Zealand Merchant Navy
- The Convoy System
- Union Steamship Company
- The Hospital Ships.

It will run until mid-July, coinciding with the visit of the 2017 Otaki Scholar, who will close the exhibition. Pictured SS Otaki in a painting by Otaki artist Wallace Trickett. SMS Moewe pursuing in the background.

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